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Accounting is the bedrock of any business and it takes good accounting to build a good business. For years, SMBs have turned to Intuit’s QuickBooks to keep finances under control. And, despite Intuit’s direct-sales history, solution providers are often the ones sourcing, installing and supporting QuickBooks in SMB environment.

The accounting and finance application market is shifting with the emergence of hosted solutions. Many solution providers are finding that the unprecedented flexibility and low startup fees of hosted solutions offer their customers, as well as the high ROI for those choosing hosted applications.

Intuit has reworked their top of the line product into QuickBooks 2009 Pro QuickBooks 2009 Premier. Both products offer a slew of minor enhancements and a few major ones that will that will fortify the reasons for an upgrade or entice new users. Premier and Pro differ in a few key areas. Pro focuses on the typical needs of a business, while Premier adds reports and business planning tools to help with forecasting and growth. What’s more, Premier adds more product pricing options and an enhanced inventory module. Premier also adds some accounts payables features, such as purchase order creation and order tracking.

Both QuickBooks 2009 Pro QuickBooks 2009 Premier have improved online banking capabilities. That is one area where hosted services seemed to always have an advantage. QuickBooks offers a multifold increase in ability to integrate onsite accounting data with supported financial institutions. Part of that benefit comes from automation; users can now schedule updates and data synchronization with their selected accounts and financial institutions. That capability makes several mundane chores much easier, such as checkbook reconciliation and balance tracking. An added benefit is that decision-makers now know what checks have cleared and have a better day-to-day understanding of cash flow, balances and credit limits. All important issues in today’s challenging economic times.

QuickBook’s offers a deeper view into a company’s financial health through the new Company Snapshot feature. Company Snapshot basically converts all of the esoteric financial data, which was once only available from reports, into an accounting “Dashboard.” That dashboard offers information such as which customers still owe them money, what bills they need to pay, and what they need to do by the end of the day.

One of the biggest services expenses many businesses have are accounting fees. QuickBooks helps to make many tasks easier for accountants by incorporating tools that speed up the review of a client’s data. That can translate into reduced costs. A collection of clean-up and review tools are also offered which can help save hours of finding and correcting client errors. An enhanced accountant’s copy feature offers improved client data importing and added account mapping capabilities.

Data backup is another area that hosted services have held an advantage, after all – the hosted service is responsible for the protection and backup of data, leaving the customer to worry about other tasks. Here, Intuit has added features that make backup much easier and faster, perhaps with the biggest benefit coming from enhanced multi-user features. Employees no longer have to wait for others to finish with QuickBooks before they can start their own work. New enhancements enable QuickBooks users to run reports while others work simultaneously in the same company data set. Users can now locally backup data while in multi-user mode, eliminating one of the bottlenecks that previous version of Quickbooks had. A new QuickBooks Messenger application brings IM like capabilities to bookkeeping staffs, allowing the instant communication of issues, problems or requests to other team members.

Further enhancing administrative control is the ability for administrative users to log other users off and perform maintenance chores. In the past, an administrator would have to manually make sure all users had logged off before applying updates or patches. Now, an administrator can kick logged-on users out of the system to perform administrative tasks.